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toronto | october 1–3

Facing change and guiding Ontario into the next quarter century

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101A: TAXED OUT: How commercial tax policy is reshaping Toronto’s neighbourhood main streets

October 01, 2019

11:00AM - 11:15AM

In recent decades, dramatic growth centred in Toronto’s downtown core has reshaped the skyline. It has also ushered in soaring property tax bills for many main street businesses.
In high-growth areas like Toronto, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation assesses commercial properties using a direct sales comparison approach referencing sales of similar properties. Amidst rapid redevelopment, property values on many Toronto main streets have been skyrocketing, and with them, commercial property tax bills.
Using photographs, infographics, stories, and data, this session will put the policy issue of commercial property tax on display, highlighting the mechanics of how this issue impacts local businesses and what uneven growth looks like on Toronto’s main streets. Using clear language, personal stories, and engaging visuals, this session will make this highly complex policy issue accessible to a broad audience, and clearly explain and contextualize this issue for planners.
This session draws content from the Ryerson City Building Institute’s 2018 TAXED OUT exhibition, on display at Urbanspace Gallery. Combining original photography, first-person interviews, expert insights, and infographics from the exhibition, this session will illustrate how market demand and Toronto’s rapid downtown growth, is threatening the very fabric that makes the city’s neighbourhoods and main streets unique. It will equip planners with an understanding of how this tax policy issue intersects with other planning issues, and will point to a number of possible solutions at the provincial and municipal levels that could support more equitable, sustainable growth.